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prerogative to disregard instructions of the judge; 
for example, acquittals under the fugitive slave 
law." (473 F. 2d ill 3) 

And let us never forget that in the Nuremburg trials 
of Nazi war criminals, the defendants argued that 
they were "only following the law." The Tribunal's 
response was, quite correctly, that they each had 
a personal responsibility to judge the morality 
of the law, and should have acted according to 

How can one person make a difference? 

JL BE ALERT! Almost everyday, new attempts 
are made to limit jury power, mostly via 
subtle changes in the rules of the courtroom 
procedure, sometimes by court decisions, 
legislation, or by the creation of special courts 
that do not allow jury trials for the accused. 

_L BE AWARE! Thousands of harmless people 
are in prison simply because their juries weren't 
fully informed. U.S. now leads the world in 
percent of population behind bars! New 
prisons are springing up everywhere, and too 
many of them are filling up with people whose 
only "crime" was to displease the government 
"master", not to victimize anyone (in other 
words, political prisoners). 

=L BE ACTIVE! Tell others what you know 
about jury veto power!* Before a jury reaches a 
verdict, each member should consider: 

/. Is this a good law? 

2. If so, is the law being justly applied? 

3. Was the Bill of Rights honored in the arrest? 

4. Will the punishment fit the crime? 
Is there a local FIJA group? 

Probably — most people who receive this leaflet 
get it from someone on a team of local activists. 
Local activists may also be working with 
lawmakers for passage of FIJA legislation; others 
my be participating in radio talk shows or placing 
ads and public service announcements, speaking 
to other local groups, or otherwise getting the 
word out. 

Since 1991, local FIJA groups in 18 states have 
persuaded their state governors to proclaim 
September5 (the day of Penn's acquittal) as "Jury 
Rights Day", often celebrating it by issuing news 

releases and leafleting courthouses — thus using 
our First Amendment right to explain how juries can 
protect the rest of our rights, simply by acquitting 
defendants been charged with breaking a bad law. 

*Discretion may be the better part of valor: FIJA 
activists have been so effective at telling jurors 
the truth about jury veto power that judges 
and prosecutors nowadays not only try to keep 
fully informed citizens off of juries, but also have 
sometimes charged those who do inform them with 
contempt of court, even with jury tampering. So, if 
you decide to "be active", we advise you to observe 
any court order directed at your leafleting or other 
educational activity, and if you are empaneled 
to serve on a jury, not to distribute jury-power 
educational literature to your fellow jurors. 



Call 1-800-TEL-JURY, and tell FIJA where to 
send your free Jury Power Information Package. It 
contains a history of jury veto power and tells what 
to do if you're going to be on a jury (or facing one). 

It also includes information on how you can support 
FIJA and a form for ordering materials. 

web site. It contains additional information about 
jury veto power, about FIJA, lists state coordinators 
and has archived files of our newsletters. 

Our site is 
Restore liberty and justice by jury! 

This leaflet is distributed locally by: 

Your Jury Rights: 
True or False I 

What rig 
£[ have as a juror that 

Factual information 
about Jury Service 

Distributed by 

Fully Informed Jury Association 

P. O. Box 5570 Helena, MT 59604 

This brochure is not copyrighted and may be reproduced 
at will. 


True or False? 

When you sit on a jury, you may vote on the 
verdict according to your conscience. 
"True", you say — and you're right. But then . . . 

Why do most judges tell you that you may consider 
"only the facts" — that you must not let your 
conscience, opinion of the law, or the motives of 
the defendant affect your decision? 

In a trial by jury, the judge's job is to referee the event 
and provide neutral legal advice to the jury, properly 
beginning with a full explanation of a juror's rights 
and responsibilities. 

But judges only rarely "fully inform" jurors of their 
rights, especially their right to judge the law itself 
and vote on the verdict according to conscience. 
In fact, judges regularly assist the prosecution 
by dismissing prospective jurors who will admit 
knowing about this right — beginning with anyone 
who also admits having qualms with the law. 

We can only speculate on why: Disrespect for the 
idea of government "of, by, and for the people"? 
Unwillingness to share power? Distrust of the 
citizenry? Fear that prosecutors may damage their 
careers, saying they're "soft on crime"? Ignorance of 
the rights that jurors necessarily acquire when they 
take on the responsibility of judging an accused 

How can people get fair trials if the jurors are told 
they can't use conscience? 

Many people don't get fair trials. Jurors often end 
up apologizing to the person they've convicted— or 
to the community for acquitting a defendant when 
evidence of guilt seems perfectly clear. 

Something is definitely wrong when the jurors feel 
apologetic about their verdict. They should never 
have to explain "I wanted to use my conscience, but 
the judge made us take an oath to apply the law as 
given to us, like it or not." 

Too often, jurors who try to vote their consciences are 
talked out of it by other jurors who don't know their rights, 
or who believe they "have to" reach a unanimous verdict 
because the judge said that a hung jury would "unduly 
burden the taxpayers." 

But if jurors were supposed to judge "only the facts", 
their job could be done by a judge. It is precisely 

because peoplehaveindividual,independentfeelings, 
opinions, wisdom, experience and conscience that we 
depend upon jurors to refuse to mindlessly follow the 
dictates of a judge or of a bad law. 

So, when it's your turn to serve, be aware: 

1 . You may, and should, vote your conscience; 

2. You cannot be forced to obey a "juror's oath"; 

3. You have the right to "hang" the jury with your vote if 
you cannot agree with other jurors! 

£"£^ What is FIJA, the Fully Informed Jury Association? 

£ FIJA is a national educational non-profit 
^5^^ organization which tells citizens more about 
FT 1 A their ri 9 nts ' P owers ' and duties as jurors than 
1 J-^ they are likely to be told in court. 

FIJA believes that "liberty and justice for all" won't 
return to America until citizens are again fully 
informed of — and using — their power as jurors. 

Return? Did judges fully inform jurors of their rights in 

Yes, it was normal procedure in the early days of 
our nation, and in colonial times. And if the judge 
didn't tell them, the defense attorney often would. 
America's founders realized that trials by juries of 
ordinary citizens, fully informed of their powers as 
jurors, would confine the government to its proper 
role as the servant, not the master, of the people. 

Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, put it like 
this: "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet 
imagined by man by which a government can be 
held to the principles of its constitution." 

John Adams, our second president had this to say 
about the juror: " It is not only his right, but his 
duty. . . to find the verdict according to his own best 
understanding, judgment, and conscience, though 
in direct opposition to thedirection of the court." 

These sound like voices of experience. Were they? 

Yes. Only decades had passed since freedom of the 
press was established in the colonies when a jury 
decided John Peter Zengerwas"notgu\\ty" of seditious 
libel. He was charged with this "crime" for printing 
true, but damaging, news stories about the Royal 
Governor of New York Colony. 

"Truth is no defense," the court told the jury! But the 
jury decided to reject bad law and acquitted Zenger. 
Why? Because defense attorney Andrew Hamilton 
informed the jury of its rights: he told the story of 
William Penn's trial — of the courageous London jury 

which refused to find him guilty of preaching what 
was then an illegal religion (Quakerism). His jurors 
stood by their verdict even though they were held 
without food, water, or toilet facilities for several 

They were then fined and imprisoned for acquitting 
Penn— until England's highest court acknowledged 
their right to reject both law and fact, and to find a 
verdict according to conscience. It was exercise of 
that right in the Penn trial which eventually led to 
recognition of free speech, religious freedom, and 
peaceful assembly as individual rights. 

American colonists regularly depended on juries to 
thwart bad law sent over from England. The British 
then restricted trial by jury and other rights which 
juries had helped secure. Result? The Declaration 
of Independence and the American Revolution. 
Afterwards, to protect the rights they'd fought 
for from future attack, the founders of the new 
nation placed trial by jury — meaning tough, fully 
informed juries — in both the Constitution and the 
Bill of Rights. 

Bad law — special-interest legislation which 
tramples our rights — is no longer sent here 
from Britain. But our own legislatures keep us 
well supplied. Now more than ever, we need juries 
to protect us! 

Why haven't I heard about "jury veto power" or 
"jury rights" before? 

During the 1800s, powerful special interest groups 
inspired a series of judicial decisions which tried to 
limit jury veto power. While no court has yet dared to 
deny that juries can "nullify" or "veto" a law, or "bring 
in a general verdict (i.e., judging both law and fact)", 
the Supreme Court in 1895 held, hypocritically, that 
jurors need not be told their rights! 

That's why, these days, it's a rare and courageous 
attorney who will risk being cited for contempt for 
informing thejury about its rights without obtaining 
the judge's prior approval. It's also why the idea of 
jury rights is not taught in (public) schools. 

Still, the jury's power to reject bad law continues 
to be recognized, as in 1972 when the DC. Circuit 
Court of Appeals held that thejury has an ... 

" . . Unreviewable and irreversible power . . . to 
acquit in disregard of the instruction on the law 
given by the trial judge. The pages of history 
shine upon instances of the jury's exercise of its